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February 16th, 2005 Kelly Clarke, Jeff Rosenberg | Album Reviews
 

Louis XIV / Marianne Faithfull

     
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Louis XIV

Louis XIV

Illegal Tender

(Pineapple/Atlantic)

SUN KINGS CRIB SEXY ROYAL 'TUDE FROM QUEEN AND THE STOOGES,CONSTRUCT CHEEKIEST ODE TO WOMANHOOD SINCE "CALIFORNIA GIRLS."

When Louis XIV's Jason Hill spatters the come-on, "Hey, carrot juice, I wanna squeeze you away until you bleed," against your eardrum during the incandescently naughty ode to womanhood "Finding Out True Love Is Blind," his plan is obvious. With the release of the band's new EP, Illegal Tender, this gritty, glammy San Diego quartet is busting out of the ranks of gilded 17th-century French rulers to conquer the whole globe—and they're bringing a royal attitude with 'em.

Louis' Tender titillates with rococo sins. Obsequious hands clap and guitars whine in time as a narcissistic Hill yawns "Me, me, me, me is all you say that I care about," on the "Louis" theme. The band goes all T. Rex for a lush, glittery ballad called "Marc." "True Love Is Blind" corsets Hill's grinning, priapic hard-on for chocolate, vanilla, Asian, smart and self-conscious girls in the sped-up back beat from Madonna's 1983 single "Burning Up," while collaborator Lindsey Troy's ladylike purr enumerates fetishistic scenes straight out of Helmut Newton's slickest fever dreams. It's trite, pretentious and more than a little offensive. It's also fucking hot.

There's more to Louis than ego-driven Sun King shtick, though. The band pillages aural poses and production from the '70s glam and punk giants but those gunning guitar riffs, melodic piano lines and raunchy lyrics are all future-perfect. The fact that Louis sounds like Richard Hell and the Stooges gang-banging Queen's Brian May in a decrepit Versailles drawing room—well, that just makes it juicier. (Kelly Clarke)

Marianne Faithfull

Before the Poison

(Anti-)

THE QUEEN OF BOHEMIA RETURNS, ATTENDED BY THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS, NICK CAVE AND PJ HARVEY

The breadth Marianne Faithfull has shown in her move from the electronic textures of 2002's Kissin' Time to the organic settings of her new album's collaborations with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave would be remarkable in a performer half her age, let alone one of her generation. And while a younger artist attempting such versatility might risk losing her own identity to those of her collaborators, Faithfull's artistic vision is so strong that she instead uses her various co-writers as tools for discovering aspects of herself.


Louis XIV plays with Hot Hot Heat Tuesday, Feb. 22, at Meow Meow, 320 SE 2nd Ave., 230-2111. $14. All ages.

Louis XIV is slated to release its sophomore full-length album next month.

 
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